Oral cancer manifests itself as a persistent growth or sore in the mouth, affecting about 50,000 individuals in the United States each year. Cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx are all examples of oral cancer. If not detected and treated early, these diseases can be fatal.
Find out how to know for sure if you have oral cancer and the possible treatments you can undergo to cure it.
People Most at Risk for Oral Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as likely as women to acquire oral cancer. Men over the age of 50 are in the greatest danger. In the United States, 70% of the estimated 50,000 people diagnosed with oral cancer in 2019 were men.
Evaluation and Diagnosis of Oral Cavity Cancer
One must undergo a comprehensive medical history and physical examination as well as diagnostic techniques for oral cancer. These diagnoses may include one or more of the following:
- Biopsy: This procedure involves removing tissue samples from the body. A pathologist tests the sample to see if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. Biopsies are frequently taken from the mouth area in the doctor's office under local anesthetic for oral malignancies.
- Endoscopy: Beyond the mouth, a tiny fiber-optic scope can be used to inspect the neck for symptoms of malignancy.
- MRI or CT Scan: These are noninvasive scans that collect images of your body’s structure in order to discover problems that may not be seen on a regular X-ray.
- Ultrasonography: This noninvasive process creates a picture of the inside organs using high-frequency sound waves. Ultrasonography may be used to assess or collect samples from the lymph nodes in the neck for oral cancer.
- PET Scan: This non-invasive procedure involves the use of specific radioactive dyes to identify cancer in the body.
After a cancer diagnosis, the cancer is staged before a treatment plan is devised. For your specific circumstance, your health care professional will choose which tests are required.
Treatment for Oral Cavity Cancer
Recommendations for treatment are routinely made after consultations with head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and a speech-language pathologist.
Oral cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. You might simply require one form of treatment or a combination of treatments.
The treatment options for oral cancer are the following:
1 - Surgery
Different surgical approaches for oral cancer surgery are used depending on the location, size, and extent of the malignancy. You may require surgery both to remove cancer from your mouth and to rebuild your mouth once it has been removed.
If there's a chance the cancer has progressed to the lymph nodes in your neck, you may need surgery to remove them.
2 - Radiation Therapy
This treatment involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and stop the disease from spreading. Radiation therapy is very targeted, focusing exclusively on the area where the cancer is found.
3 - Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy kills cancer cells by administering drugs throughout the body. Chemotherapy can be used alone, or oncologists can agree to combine it with surgery or radiation therapy to treat cancer.
4 - Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that employs drugs to aid your body's immune system in fighting cancer. It may be used to treat advanced oral malignancies that have failed to respond to regular treatments.
Oral cancer is significantly easier for doctors to treat if found early. However, the majority of people receive a diagnosis when their ailment has progressed beyond the point where it can be properly treated.
You can have an early diagnosis if you visit your dentist or doctor on a regular basis and learn how to recognize abnormal changes.
If you feel the need to consult with a local dentist in Waterford, Dental House MI is here for you. We provide professional dental services, including preventive dentistry, restorative dentistry, oral surgery, and advanced dental technology. Set up a dental appointment with us today!